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GCSE English Coursework - Crucible

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Introduction

The Crucible - Coursework 'The Crucible' is a play, based on a true event in American history. Written by Arthur Miller in 1953, The Crucible was set in the small Puritan village called Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. This town can be seen to be extremely oppressive, and a place in which people had no freedom or individuality. Miller wrote the play during the period in which McCarthy's anti-Communist campaign was at its height. Miller saw many parallels between this period and the 'witch hunts' in Salem, for example unsupported accusations, fear of individual difference, and people being encouraged to inform on their friends. Senator Joe McCarthy organized a twentieth-century version of 'witch-hunting'. In the early 1950's he exploited the US fears about Communism and managed to create a national campaign against Communists. As chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, McCarthy interrogated many witnesses and tried to make them inform on their friends. Anyone suspected of communist views was arrested for taking part in 'Un-American Activities'. Between 1950 and 1954 McCarthy investigated and accused a wide range of famous people such as Walt Disney, John Lennon, and Marilyn Monroe. Even Miller was investigated as many of his plays were seen as an attack on capitalism. This was very similar to what happened in Salem in the 17th century. Salem can be seen as a corrupted society in which people were trapped by the strict rules of Puritanism. The accusations of witchcraft and dealing with the Devil in Salem were all started off by a group of girls who were caught chanting, dancing and conjuring spirits in the woods. ...read more.

Middle

For example when in court, John confesses to having an affair with Abigail, he says that his wife sacked her due to the affair. John says that his wife has never lied in the life, and would therefore tell the truth. The court decides to ask Elizabeth about the affair. When she is brought into the court room the tension begins to build. John and Abigail are asked to turn around so they cannot communicate with Elizabeth, which further increases the tension. When Elizabeth is asked why she sacked Abigail, she searches for an answer, she tries to look at John for an answer however is quickly stopped by the Judge. She then says that the reason for her sacking Abigail was due to her not fulfilling her duties, and was therefore not due to an affair between John and Abigail. This shows how John and Elizabeth's relationship had grown. She would rather lie, than tarnish her husbands name, as she knows how important his name is too him. This can cause the audience to feel great empathy towards the couple as the audience realises how close the couple have become and how their love has been rekindled. The audience also begin to realise Elizabeth's true personality. They feel great admiration for Elizabeth and can now see how she has great integrity and loyalty towards her husband. This is another example of how 'The Crucible' is an allegorical text as the themes are continuously being explored through many different characters and scenes. ...read more.

Conclusion

it were a cold house I kept". John asks Elizabeth for her forgiveness however she insists that she is in no place to forgive him, only God can do so. This can be quite a shock to the audience as they would expect her to forgive John. However it shows how they have both united in the belief of Gods Judgement, not of any man or woman's. Elizabeth expresses tells John how in heaven God will forgive him "He have his goodness now." Throughout the play there are many points at which tension is created which leads to a very dramatic overall effect. Stage directions, language and punctuation and effects are all key elements in creating tension in this novel. This engages the audience and can help them to empathise with characters and understand the plot. For example dramatic tension if effectively created during the scene in which Elizabeth is called to the court room and asked why she sacked Abigail. John and Abigail have their backs turned, so Elizabeth cannot communicate with either of them, Elizabeth's actions show how she is uncertain whether she should tell the truth or not and therefore blacken her husband's name, or commit a sin by lying to save her husbands integrity. There are many different ways in which tension is effectively created in the Crucible, all of which have a dramatic impact on the audience. for In the Crucible Miller uses allegory which helps the themes run throughout the play and to comment indirectly to the events happening during America in the 1950's. ...read more.

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